Ground Beef & Broccoli

January 16th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Healthy Ground Beef and Broccoli is a quick and easy skillet recipe that comes together in 15 minutes in just one pan!

Ingredients
• 1 pound lean, grass-fed ground beef
• 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
• 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon fresh minced or grated ginger (OR 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
• 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen broccoli florets
• 2 tablespoons arrowroot (replacement for cornstarch)
• 2 tablespoons cool water
• 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
• Riced cauliflower

Instructions
1. Set a large skillet, saute pan, or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking apart and stirring as the meat cooks.

2. While the beef is cooking, combine the beef broth, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes in a bowl or large measuring cup; set aside.

3. After the beef is cooked, push it to the edges of the pan, dump the garlic and ginger in the center, and stir for a minute or two until fragrant. Drain the grease from the pan. Add the sauce and the broccoli to the pan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for several minutes (using the cooking time on the package of frozen broccoli as a guide) and stir occasionally until the broccoli is cooked to your desired tenderness.

4. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk the arrowroot/cornstarch into the water until dissolved. Slowly pour the arrowroot slurry into the pan while stirring the beef and broccoli. Bring to a boil and cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. Stir in the sesame oil, if using, and serve hot over cauliflower rice.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


DOMS: Reducing Inflammation Through Diet and Recover Quicker

November 5th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

You know that moment. You wake up a few days after a workout and think to yourself, “Ah, now I feel it.” The technical term for this post-workout evidence of hard effort is delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.

 

DOMS happens when you work your muscles harder
than they are used to working. 

That’s the simple explanation, but on a biological level, there’s a lot more going on. When we work our bodies harder than they are used to, the response is inflammation. The next natural step is an immune response. When our bodies can’t deal with exercise-induced muscle damage, we experience DOMS. While the exact mechanisms are not well understood, DOMS appears to be a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitize nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain.

Smart recovery can prevent DOMS from derailing your training.

  • The best recovery foods to eat after an intense workout are raw, organic whole foods containing healthy amounts of carbs and protein
  • Some of the specific foods shown to soothe muscle soreness include bananas, cacao, coffee, eggs, salmon, spinach, sweet potatoes, and watermelon, as well as spices like cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric
  • Two substances you should avoid combining with exercise are alcohol and sugar, both of which cause inflammation

Muscle: The Organ of Longevity, a Broken Brain Podcast

August 22nd, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

We use our muscles every day, from our brain to our quads, for the smallest and the biggest tasks. Muscles make up an impressive 45% of our body mass. Did you know that muscle is an endocrine organ and regulates metabolism? Did you know that using your muscles can actually help reduce systemic inflammation?

Today on The Broken Brain Podcast, Functional Medicine practitioner Dr. Gabrielle Lyon joins our host, Dhru Purohit, to talk about muscles and optimizing our body composition by eating protein, strength training, and more. Dr. Lyon specializes in muscle-centric medicine and works with her patients to fine-tune metabolism, balance hormones, and transform body composition.

If you want to learn all about protein, and what it can do for your muscles, how it can increase your energy, and increase your longevity, I hope you’ll tune in to our podcast.

In this episode, we dive into:

Muscle: The organ of longevity (2:18)
Obesogenic sarcopenia—what does that mean? (5:08)
Brain and muscle health in the aging (8:13)
Importance of maintaining muscle (10:18)
Everything you need to know about protein (13:21)
Sources of protein (15:58)
Plant-based protein (18:04)
Dr. Lyon’s personal daily diet (20:18)
Aging healthfully (25:26)
Building muscle—where to start? (27:51)
How do I prioritize protein correctly in my daily diet? (32:55)
Dr. Lyon’s favorite protein supplements (36:06)
How can the right protein change my life? (37:43)

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD


The Best Workout Ever, According to Science

August 6th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

It seems like every other week there is a new study touting the best way to work out.

Since my clients are reading these, I like to check them out too. Imagine my smile when I read a “top 10” article and found that several of our “DBM” moves were included.

1. Dumbbell Front Squats
Set your feet hip-to-shoulder-width apart. Holding dumbbells above your shoulders, elbows bent and close to your sides, inhale as you sit back deeply while keeping your chest high, into a squat. Exhale and press the floor away to come back to stand.

2. Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
Start with the dumbbells in your hands, fingers facing forward, just above your shoulders by your ears. Soften your knees. Inhale, then exhale as you press the ‘bells above your head, together but not touching. Resist the weight as you bring them back down.

3. Bentover Rows
Begin bending down by sending your hips back so your torso is hinged at the waist; lightly bend your knees. Let the weights hang in front of your legs, fingers facing them, but don’t allow your shoulders to droop forward. Inhale, then exhale as you row the barbell up, pulling your shoulder blades together at the top. Slowly lower it back to start.

4. Dumbbell Squats 
With dumbbells on your shoulders, squat slowly to the floor. Exhale as you push up to standing. Repeat, slowly down, pushing up and breathing throughout.

6. Wide-Grip Pull-ups (assisted if needed)
On a bar or assisted pullup machine, place your hands so they are each 6-8 inches beyond your shoulder width, fingers facing away from you. Inhale, then exhale as you pull your body up, chin above the bar. Inhale as you lower down with control.

Read the complete Men’s Journal article here


Why strength training is important for all student athletes

August 6th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Strength training has become such an integral part of an athlete’s training regimen over the past several decades that you would assume it is universally accepted as standard operating procedure.

However, there still appears to be a fairly large contingent of well-meaning coaches who are recipients of push-back regarding strength training’s efficacy and overall benefits. Whether the concerns stem from uninformed parents/guardians, misguided coaches or athletic directors, or antiquated gender stereotyping and misconceptions, strength training still receives a bad rap in some small, restricted circles.

If you are a strength training advocate, and facing the friction of any of the scenarios mentioned above, here are some evidence-based, documented, tried-and-true facts on why strength training should be a mainstay for all athletes — male and female — in every sport.

Think of them as the “magnificent seven” reasons to strength train.

1. It helps reduce the incidence or severity of injury
2. Improvements in overall flexibility
3. Healthy, efficient body composition
4. Increased resting metabolism
5. Packing the power
6. Increased bone mineral density
7. Improved glucose metabolism

Strength training is, unquestionably, one of the most effective avenues available to us for enhancing numerous aspects of physical health and performance-related variables. In addition to the positive physical outcomes mentioned, there also is evidence of mental health benefits including decreased symptoms of depression, increased self-esteem and self-concept, and improved cognitive capabilities.

With all of those key ingredients to athletic success and an improved quality of life in place, the case for engaging in a safely administered, comprehensive, year-round, progressive strength training program is on rock-solid footing.

Read the complete article by Ken Mannie here.


The Hidden Mental and Physical Benefits of Exercise

July 26th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

As You Work Out…
Your lungs are getting stronger. When you do cardio, your brain sends signals to them to help you breathe faster and deeper, delivering extra oxygen to your muscles.

Your motivation is at its peak. Thanks to a flood of endorphins, which trigger the classic runner’s high, you feel psyched and energized.

You’re fighting flab. During typical cardio exercise, your body taps mainly fat for fuel.

FIT TIP: Push yourself to go harder. The more intensely you do aerobic activity and the longer you do it, the more efficiently your body uses oxygen, and this boosts its fat-blasting power throughout your workout.

Within One Hour of Exercise…
You’re protecting yourself against colds, flu, you name it. Exercise elevates your level of immunoglobulins, which are proteins that help bolster your immune system and ward off infection. “Every sweat session you do can help strengthen your immune function for about 24 hours,” says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise.

You’re feeling zen. Mood-enhancing chemicals, like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, flood your brain for a couple of hours post-exercise and for up to a day if you’ve competed in an endurance event, like a marathon. Stress? What stress?

You’re blasting calories, even at rest. For every 100 calories, you burn during your workout, you can expect to burn 15 calories after.

FIT TIP: To turbo-charge your calorie-incinerating quotient, strength-train at least twice a week. It will charge your metabolism so that you’ll continue to burn calories for up to 38 hours, according to a study from Ohio University in Athens.

Post-Workout Benefits

Within One Day of Exercise…
You’re adding lean muscle. If you did a strength-training routine, your muscles are now starting to rebuild themselves and repair the microscopic tears that come with lifting weights. Preliminary research shows that women respond to and recover from resistance training faster than men.

Your heart is healthier. One sweat session lowers your blood pressure for up to 16 hours.

FIT TIP: A vigorous workout is especially heart smart.

You’re a quick study. You’re super alert and focused post-exercise. That’s because a good workout increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain.

Within One Week of Regular Exercise…
Your risk of diabetes goes down. The more you work out, the greater your sensitivity to insulin. That, in turn, lowers your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Your VO2 max, a measure of your endurance and aerobic fitness, has already increased by about 5 percent.  You can go a little harder and longer than you could before.

FIT TIP: Step up your routine and your results will be even better. Plus, you can burn more belly fat by doing intervals rather than keeping a steady pace.

You’re slimmer. Cutting 500 calories a day through exercise and diet will help you drop one pound a week.

Long-Term Benefits of Exercise
You’re getting stronger. Those fifteen-pound weights don’t feel quite as heavy, because your muscular endurance is starting to increase. Ten reps is no longer a struggle.

You’re blasting belly fat. After four weeks of regular workouts, your body is ditching flab and gaining muscle. Overweight people who took part in a four-week program of moderate aerobic exercise in an Australian study reduced ab fat by 12 percent.

FIT TIP: To trim your tummy, do fewer crunches and more planks: Begin on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips, then lower forearms to floor and extend legs straight behind you, balancing on toes. Keeping abs engaged and back flat, butt slightly raised, hold for 30 seconds; do 10 reps three or four times a week.

You’ve got more brainpower. Working out activates growth-stimulating proteins in the brain that may help form new cells there.

FIT TIP: The more challenging your workout, the stronger your mental muscle. Aim for 30 minutes of vigorous cardio at least three days a week.

Within One Year of Regular Exercise…
Working out is way easier. “Your endurance and aerobic fitness can increase by up to 25 percent after eight to 12 weeks of regular training,” Gordon says. “In a year your endurance can more than double.”

Your heart rate is lower. Thanks to regular workouts, your heart is pumping more efficiently. For instance, if your initial resting heart rate was 80 beats a minute, it will have dropped to 70 or lower. The less work your heart has to do, the healthier you’ll be.

You’re a fat-melting machine. Your cells are now superefficient at breaking down fat and using it as fuel. That means you’re zapping more flab 24-7.

You’ve cut your cancer risk. In a study of more than 14,800 women, those who had the highest levels of aerobic fitness were 55 percent less likely to die from breast cancer than those who were sedentary. Women considered moderately fit had about a 33 percent lower risk of developing the disease. Exercise may also help protect against endometrial, lung, and ovarian cancer, researchers say.

You’re adding years to your life.
Fitness buffs have better telomeres, the DNA that bookends our chromosomes and protects them from damage, which can slow the aging process, studies show.

You feel fantastic. Just four months of exercise is as good as prescription meds at boosting mood and reducing depression, according to a study at Duke University. Keep it up and not only will your life be longer, it will be happier, too!

Courtesy of Fitness Magazine


The New Science of Exercise

July 4th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Only 20% of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week, more than half of all baby boomers report doing no exercise whatsoever, and 80.2 million Americans over age 6 are entirely inactive.

That’s bad news, but emerging evidence shows that there are plenty of compelling reasons to start moving at any age, even if you’re ill or pregnant. Indeed, scientists are learning that exercise is, actually, medicine.

You can read the whole story here, or find it posted on the cork board in the gym, but here are some of the amazing things that happen to a body in motion.

1. Exercise is great for your brain.

It’s linked to less depression, better memory, and quicker learning. Studies also suggest that exercise is, as of now, the best way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, a major fear for many Americans.

Scientists don’t know exactly why exercise changes the structure and function of the brain, but it’s an area of active research. So far, they’ve found that exercise improves blood flow to the brain, feeding the growth of new blood vessels and even new brain cells, thanks to the protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF triggers the growth of new neurons and helps repair and protect brain cells from degeneration. It may also help people focus, according to recent research.

2. You might get happier.

Countless studies show that many types of exercise, from walking to cycling, make people feel better and can even relieve symptoms of depression. Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain—serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, dopamine—that dull pain, lighten mood and relieve stress. “For years we focused almost exclusively on the physical benefits of exercise and really have ignored the psychological and emotional benefits of being regularly active,” says Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise.

3. It might make you age slower.

Exercise has been shown to lengthen lifespan by as much as five years. A small new study suggests that moderate-intensity exercise may slow down the aging of cells. As humans get older and their cells divide over and over again, their telomeres—the protective caps on the end of chromosomes—get shorter. To see how exercise affects telomeres, researchers took a muscle biopsy and blood samples from 10 healthy people before and after a 45-minute ride on a stationary bicycle. They found that exercise increased levels of a molecule that protects telomeres, ultimately slowing how quickly they shorten over time. Exercise, then, appears to slow aging at the cellular level.

4. It’ll make your skin look better.

Aerobic exercise revs up blood flow to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health and even help wounds heal faster. “That’s why when people have injuries, they should get moving as quickly as possible—not only to make sure the muscle doesn’t atrophy but to make sure there’s good blood flow to the skin,” says Anthony Hackney, an exercise physiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Train long enough, and you’ll add more blood vessels and tiny capillaries to the skin, too.

5. Amazing things can happen in just a few minutes.

Emerging research suggests that it doesn’t take much movement to get the benefits. “We’ve been interested in the question of, How low can you go?” says Martin Gibala, an exercise physiologist at McMaster University in Ontario. He wanted to test how effective a 10-minute workout could be, compared to the typical 50-minute bout. The micro-workout he devised consists of three exhausting 20-second intervals of all-out, hard-as-you-can exercise, followed by brief recoveries. In a three-month study, he pitted the short workout against the standard one to see which was better. To his amazement, the workouts resulted in identical improvements in heart function and blood-sugar control, even though one workout was five times longer than the other.

6. It can help you recover from a major illness.

Even very vigorous exercise—like the interval workouts Gibala is studying—can, in fact, be appropriate for people with different chronic conditions, from Type 2 diabetes to heart failure. That’s new thinking because, for decades, people with certain diseases were advised not to exercise. Now scientists know that far more people can and should exercise. A recent analysis of more than 300 clinical trials discovered that for people recovering from a stroke, exercise was even more effective at helping them rehabilitate.

7. Your fat cells will shrink.

The body uses both carbohydrates and fats as energy sources. But after consistent aerobic exercise training, the body gets better at burning fat, which requires a lot of oxygen to convert it into energy. “One of the benefits of exercise training is that our cardiovascular system gets stronger and better at delivering oxygen, so we are able to metabolize more fat as an energy source,” Hackney says. As a result, your fat cells—which produce the substances responsible for chronic low-grade inflammation—shrink, and so does inflammation.

By MANDY OAKLANDER and HEATHER JONES


90 Days to Awesome!

June 27th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Getting ripped takes hard work and dedication, a carefully planned diet and many hours in the gym. At times, it takes an iron will, such as when you want to cheat on your diet or skip a workout.

There’s no shortcut to getting ripped. Whether or not you can get there in 90 days depends on where you’re starting from and how much you’re willing to work for it.

Diet Is King

How much time you spend in the kitchen prepping meals with the right calorie and macronutrient content is just as important as how much time you spend in the gym. You can’t get ripped if your diet isn’t on point. Following the DBM food plan is key to seeing results from your bi-weekly strength training workout.

When you reduce your caloric intake, your body starts to burn fat for fuel. How many calories you need to eat depends on a lot of factors – your current body fat percentage, how much you currently eat, how hard you work out, etc. Get good at tracking your calories in a journal or an app. If you’re not getting the results you want, talk with me. Just remember that you don’t want to cut too many calories, which can cause you to lose muscle.

Macro Strategy

Balancing your macronutrients is key to getting ripped. Experts differ on the exact proportions, but generally, a diet that is higher in protein gets good results.

Protein is one of the most important nutrients for altering body composition it provides the raw materials for building muscle and it is more satiating than carbohydrate and fat, which can help you reduce your calorie intake for fat loss.

Choose Your Foods Wisely

You want to get the most bang for your buck at each meal and snack. Choose lean sources of protein, such as light meat chicken, fish and lean beef, egg whites, and plants. Focus on fresh vegetables which are low in calories and filling, instead of fruit which is high in natural sugar, snack on sweeter vegetables like bell peppers, snap peas and carrots.

Avoid saturated fats and get healthy fats from olive oil, fatty fish, and avocado. Choose a protein shake when you need something sweet, and avoid eating out whenever possible as it makes controlling your calorie and macronutrient intake challenging.

Advanced food prep is your friend. Always having a balanced meal and snacks ready to eat in your refrigerator makes it much less likely that you will cheat (keep a small cooler with you in the summer).

Crush the Gym

In combination with eating enough protein, strength training is the only way to maintain muscle mass while you’re burning fat. Strength training programs that are consistent, challenging and changed up every four to six weeks will get you the results you want. You also need to allow adequate time for recovery to promote muscle growth and prevent injury. Follow my program of twice a week private or semi-private sessions and use group classes as needed.

Keep your workouts simple by using compound movements like squats, curls, deadlifts, rows and pull-ups with heavy weights. These exercises work a lot of muscles at one time and build core strength. They also burn more calories while you’re doing them.


Student Athletes Prevent Injuries and Optimize Performance

May 22nd, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

High school athletes can be an inspiring bunch to work with. Enthusiastic and driven, many adolescent sportsmen and women give their all in the court, track, field, and pool in pursuit of victory. It’s a shame that many of them get stopped short by a fundamental lack of strength. But as anyone who’s played high school sports can attest, coaches often overlook strength training in favor of more straightforward drills.

When coaches leave strength training out of the schedule, athletes pay the price. Many high school athletes join teams with little to no strength. Some may be quicker or more agile than others, but their prowess proves temporary and fades quickly after the first half of a 3-month season. Injuries are common among those left to rely on inborn talent and effort: without the buildup of relevant muscle groups, they quickly succumb to shin splints, tennis elbow, swimmer’s shoulder, and a number of other common ailments. Many a future star has fallen after a few seasons of such frustration.

That’s where strength training comes in. One of its central goals is to reduce the risk of injury. In high school students, strength training is often necessary to target muscle groups that need to do their share in supporting proper form. This is as true of cross-country runners as it is of basketball players.

Young athletes are unique because unlike professionals, they are still growing. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that they gain strength – within one academic year, their bodies can easily be asked to suddenly accommodate an inch or more in new height. The fact that strength training aids in bone density is often overlooked in this context. Studies have shown improvements in bone density after several months of strength training, which is why it’s one of the best protectors against osteoporosis in aging adults, and injury in children.

Of course, strength training isn’t just about injury prevention: it optimizes performance. Studies have consistently shown that both endurance athletes and their high-intensity counterparts do better if strength training is mixed in with their normal routine. Improved strength allows athletes to employ proper form, to explode down the court, field, and pool, and to enlist key muscle groups from around the body in executing a dynamic movement.

Courtesy of www.vertimax.com


Why Protein is so Important to Your Strength Training Regime

April 3rd, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Did you know that your organs, tissues, muscles, and hormones are all made from proteins? The protein found in foods is used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly. It can be argued that nothing is more important than consuming protein foods, and because proteins are involved in just about everybody function, it’s important that you consume foods high in protein every day, during every meal to prevent protein deficiency, which can wreak havoc on the body.

Eating enough protein is necessary to build and maintain healthy muscle mass, while also supporting tendon, ligaments, and other body tissue. So, protein is important for bodybuilding, but it’s also necessary for developing leaner muscles as well. When your diet is lacking in amino acids, “muscle wasting” (or muscle atrophy) can take place when your muscle fibers are broken down to support your body’s energy needs.

Protein is especially important after exercise since physical activity like strength training purposefully damages muscle tissues so they can repair and grow back stronger. For the process to happen effectively, you need some extra protein to help repair the damage. While protein alone won’t enhance athletic performance, research shows that eating protein before and after exercise helps increase muscle recovery, promotes muscle synthesis and serves as effective muscle ache treatment.

We need to eat plenty of protein foods every day to keep our metabolisms running, our energy up and our blood sugar levels stable. You might eat enough protein overall, but do you eat the right kinds?

Here are some of the best protein foods for your health.

1. Grass-Fed Beef: 3 ounces: 22 grams

2. Organic Chicken: 3 ounces: 21 grams

3. Bone Broth: 1 serving (¼ cup): 20 grams

4. Lentils: 1 cup: 18 grams

5. Wild-Caught Salmon (and other wild fish): 3 ounces: 17 grams

6. Eggs: 1 large free-range egg: 7 grams

7. Almonds (and other nuts): ¼ cup/23 almonds: 5 grams

Studies show that eating a high-protein diet has a number of health benefits. Not only does it help you maintain and lose weight, but it also works to stabilize your blood sugar levels, improve your ability to learn and concentrate, reduce brain fog, boost your energy levels, support your muscles and bones and support the absorption of important nutrients.

Many people make the mistake of trying diets that involve calorie counting and deprivation. On a high-protein diet, you will feel completely satiated after eating, and you won’t have to deal with the blood sugar highs and lows that lead to cravings and moodiness. You’ll be surprised to see how many foods you can eat on a high-protein diet. Even people on a vegetarian or vegan diet, who sometimes turn to processed foods for energy, have enough high-protein foods to choose from.

My Final Thoughts on High-Protein Foods

  • The protein found in foods is used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly.
  • Proteins are long chains of amino acids, which are essential molecules for all metabolic processes.
  • When you don’t eat a range of foods high in protein, you become at risk of deficiencies in certain amino acids, which can result in many health issues, including low energy, mood swings, difficulty losing weight, poor sleep, low immunity and unstable blood sugar levels.
  • Some of the top foods high in protein include grass-fed beef, organic chicken, lentils, wild-caught salmon, black beans, natto, eggs, yogurt, goat cheese, almonds and protein powder made from bone broth.
  • For people who don’t eat animal products, there are plenty of plant-based protein options, including nuts, seeds, beans, leafy greens and grains like quinoa.

partly sourced from draxe.com